Ouseburn Open Studios will put a spring in our step this weekend

As a tidying up frenzy engulfs the working spaces of more than 100 artists and makers, Sam Wonfor looks (very much) forward to Ouseburn Open Studios

Northern Print is taking part in the Spring Ouseburn Open Studios

Northern Print is taking part in the Spring Ouseburn Open Studios with its latest exhibition, Rattlebag

Final preparations are underway for the Spring incarnation of the wonderful Ouseburn Open Studios, which sees a crowd of creative lovelies opening their studio doors for our pleasure.

And hopefully more than a handful of sales.

It has been more than 20 years since the small scale beginnings of this delicious weekend-long event began sewing itself into the annual doings of Newcastle’s cultural quarter.

Now offering a double helping of opportunities to get up close and personal with hundreds of artists and designer-makers each year – the November-time shindig now resides on the Christmas shopping schedules of thousands – Ouseburn Open Studios is a genuine treat.

Underpinned by a desire to sell work while sharing the practice which produces it, this weekend is the 24th time we’ve been invited into the working spaces of some seriously talented peeps.

Taking place between 10am and 5pm on Saturday and Sunday (March 23 and 24, 2019) those who make the wise decision to have a mooch about will be offered the opportunity to go behind the finished works of more than 100 local artists and designer-makers, and buy from a massive range of affordable and original work.

Paintings, ceramics, sculpture, jewellery, furniture and prints are among the delights which you could end up calling your own – or giving to your very nearest and dearest the next time a special gift is required.

Suitable for all ages, five venues have signed up to whack a big old OPEN sign on their respective front doors.

Sim Zack, project coordinator and supervisor of The Biscuit Factory Studios, says: “The Ouseburn Open Studios Spring Weekend is not only a great way for the public to support their local creative community but also a perfect opportunity to purchase/ commission an original artwork directly from the artist themselves.

“Get a rare glimpse into the artist’s world whether that’s discovering brand new works being made in the studios or booking into a workshop and trying your hand at making something yourself!”

Here’s a rundown of some Spring programme highlights:

The Biscuit Factory
Featuring new artwork from more than 250 artists, the spanking new Spring Show – headlined by portrait artist Peter Hallam – blends a contemporary mix of paintings, prints, ceramics, sculpture, glass and one of the largest collections of handmade jewellery in the city.
And don’t forget to have a look around the newest addition to the Biscuit Family, The B.Box Studios.

Nick James is taking part in the Spring Ouseburn Open Studios

Furniture maker Nick James will be sharing his practice and selling pieces

Mushroom works (open 11am to 4pm both days)
Those fun-guys (apologies) and gals at the Mushroom Works are once again inviting us all in for an explore and a chat with all the lovely artists and designers who have their studios there.
Formerly a Methodist Chapel, Mushroom Works now hosts a wide range of creative practitioners making furniture, painting, jewellery, textiles and illustrations.

Northern Print
Taking its cue from Spring, aka the big seasonal boss of all things fresh and new, Northern Print is throwing up a load of inspiring ideas to brighten up your home and give your creativity a shot in the arm.
The current exhibition, Rattlebag offers a collection of 20x20cm prints from both Northern Print artists and other printmakers from around the world – and don’t forget, if you fancy making a more substantial purchase, you can sign up to Arts Council England’s Own Art Scheme, which allows you to pay over 10 interest free monthly payments.

Artist Jim Edwards is taking part in the Spring Ouseburn Open Studios

Artist Jim Edwards is taking part in the Spring Ouseburn Open Studios

Jim Edwards
Sticking with the Springtime theme, Jim Edwards’ collection of new and colourful paintings offer a delightful way to shut the door on any lingering winter gloom. Original paintings, drawings, limited edition prints and greetings cards will all be up for the buying.
Meanwhile the artist himself will be on hand to talk to anyone who fancies listening about his working practice, all the way from the initial thumbnail sketch to the finished painting.

Based in 36 Lime Street, AFID Design is taking part in the Spring Ouseburn Open Studios

Based in 36 Lime Street, AFID Design is taking part in the Spring Ouseburn Open Studios

36 Lime Street
Five levels worth of artists, designers, makers and musicians who all count 36 Lime Street as their creative address, will be present, correct and waiting with open doors for all who care to pay them a visit.
As well as the visual treats on offer, there will also be regular musical intervals from award winning composer Steve Luck.

Ouseburn Open Studios is open to the public and is free to attend. For more information on the line-up, visit www.ouseburnopenstudios.org

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